Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture and Natural Resources



Agriculture Connections to USDA: Lifestyle and Training of Undergraduates thru Real world Experiences in Texas and Puerto Rico

Project Director--Dr. Maria Velez

This will be the first HSI grant in which the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Arts and Sciences are collaborating jointly at TAMUK on a united front to better educate students in the sciences, specifically agricultural sciences and molecular biology/biomedical sciences.  The aim is to develop leadership skills in students through experiential learning activities that are directly applicable to careers related to food, agricultural, natural resources and human sciences (FANH), while they learn to collaborate with others outside of their career field.  This program will also broaden the base of potential employees from TAMUK ready to consider employment with the USDA and FANH upon graduation.


For the Students

  • Spring Course
    • Research training in biotechnology and biological and agricultural ethics.
    • Exposure to USDA agencies, jobs and internship opportunities.
    • Increasing Spanish capacity.
    • Data analysis and presentation skills.
  • A cultural immersion experience in Puerto Rico
    • Site visits on the island for APHIS, Forest Service, and NRCS.
    • Activities at a coffee plantation, marine biology and conservation locations, historic sites, and art museum.
    • Service learning

College of Arts and Sciences

Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

AgriCULTURE 2022

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Esmeralda Hernandez
  • Leticia Robles
  • Abcde Cirilo
  • April Rios
  • Brianna Jimenez

Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Geovanna Cavazos
  • Mia Martinez
  • Eva Morgan
  • Faith Escamilla
  • Adan Martinez

AgriCULTURE 2021

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Bianca Blanco--Biomedical Sciences
  • Sophia Brooks--Biology
  • Emilia Gomez--Biomedical Sciences
  • Ariana Jimenez--Chemistry
  • Scott Pineda--Biomedical Sciences

Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Victoria Benavides--Ag Business
  • William Gallant--Animal Science
  • Alexander Meza--Agriculture Science
  • Samuel Munoz--Range and Wildlife Management
  • Hanna Sorenson--Agriculture Science

BIOL 4355--Biotechnology Research, Ethics and Culture in Agriculture

This course is a student-centered experiential learning where students will:  acquire biotechnology skills, be exposed to USDA career opportunities and training, train in responsible conduct of research, presentation skills, molecular techniques, data analysis, agricultural diversity and Spanish proficiency.  The course will consist of one hour of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week.


Topics Covered

  • Introduction to AgriCULTURE, USDA and USDA careers
  • Responsible Conduct of Research and Bio ethics
  • Pathway to Internships
  • PCR, gel electrophoresis
  • Spanish Capacity
  • Oral Presentation skills
  • Data Analysis
  • Hands-on-class research project

Places students will travel to and activities in Puerto Rico

  • APHIS and Wildlife Management at the Airport (SJU)
  • Forest Services: Botanical Garden and El Yunque (rainforest)
  • Basins, wetlands, biodiversity and caverns
  • NRCS: Farm visits
  • Endangered and Invasive Species (Puerto Rico's DRNA)
  • Marine Biology and Conservation
  • Coffee Plantation
  • Art Museum
  • Historic Sites
  • Service learning

AgriCULTURE 2021

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